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OC Science is a student-run, non-profit organization working to inspire and spread interest in science and engineering among youth in Orange County.

President: Harlan Tsui

Capistrano Valley Chapter recently hosted Castille Science Night! Pictures from the event below:

End of Year Summary

     The Capistrano Valley High School OC Science Chapter meets on a weekly basis to discuss community activities and OC Science events. The success of this club in CUSD has brought great success for the high school as well. Over the past year, Harlan’s chapter has hosted three successful elementary family science nights at Castille Elementary School, Viejo Elementary School, and Bathgate Elementary School, featuring fun and exciting science experiments, like Liquid Nitrogen Dippin’ Dots and Bottle Rockets. As an end-of-the-year project, CVHS OC Science hosted an event at their school, called the CVHS STEAM Showcase. Their goal was not only to spread interest in science, but also to spread interest in the arts. They accomplished this by hosting a concert, featuring ensembles and performers from their own school, along with different science classes and clubs from their school, like AP Chemistry and Aquaponics. The influence of the chapter has not only brought smiles to children throughout the community and inspired them to appreciate the beauty of science, but has also received lots of commendation and approval from parents, teachers, and principals alike. The chapter has also provided volunteer services to a variety of OC Science events, including the Portola Elementary Science Night and the 2016 OCSEF Leadership Conference. Below are a list of their events that they have done at each showcase.

     Liquid Nitrogen Dippin’ Dots:

Hands down, this was the event which drew the biggest crowd at every event. Using liquid nitrogen, club members melted down ice cream and dripped it into containers of liquid nitrogen to form drops of ice cream, or Dippin’ Dots. Students here learned about the thermochemistry of the instant freezing of the ice cream, along with the importance of liquid nitrogen in today’s industries. Students were also able to boil flowers and leaves in containers of liquid nitrogen, and they smashed them onto tables to watch them shatter.


Students at Snapkits learned the basics on electricity flow, voltage, amperage, resistance, and open versus closed circuits. CVHS OC Science achieved this by using the Snaptricity SC-100 model kits, which were modified to fit their lessons’ needs. Through single and double-module builds, scholars learned how adding modules to a circuit increased the resistance load, and thus diverted power away from both modules, making both less powerful. Additionally, by hooking up an excess battery to a circuit, scholars were able to spike the voltage of a circuit and make a light bulb shine even brighter than before.

     Lava Lamps:

Students in Lava Lamps learned about the chemistry of oil and water and about how they interact. Students learned about the nonpolar properties of oil molecules and about the polar properties of water. Club members explained that the oil and water would not mix because oil will only mix with nonpolar substances while water would only mix with polar substances. Additionally, scholars learned about the density of oil, which explained by oil floated on top of water. Scholars mixed oil and water into a water bottle, added drops of food coloring, then put a piece of alka-seltzer to agitate the mixture and create their very own lava lamps.

     Cheek DNA:

Scholars at the Cheek DNA station learned about the structure and purpose of DNA and RNA, while also being able to create a visible sample of their own DNA. Scholars swished Gatorade throughout their mouth, which is slightly acidic. This drink would help loosen cheek lining cells so that scholars could spit out a sample of their saliva into a test tube. Lysis solution was then added to the test tube to break down cell membranes of the cheek lining and release the DNA. Finally, the mixture was put into an ethanol solution to finalize. While waiting for finalization, members showed students how to craft a model of DNA using licorice and marshmallows. Students were able to bring home a small capsule filled with ethanol, with a small, white wisp, which was their cheek lining cells’ DNA. The capsule was threaded with string to become a necklace.

     Bottle Rockets:

This event was a sign up event prior to showcases due to limited materials. Students here learned about the basics of aerodynamics and rocket physics. Members taught about center of mass and center of gravity, along with fin placement and importance of a cone. In the end, students would construct their own rockets and launch them using water and pressurized air.

     Model Rocket Launch:

The last event that CVHS OC Science always did at every event was a launch of their full-sized model rocket, powered with a D engine. This showing was open for everybody to watch, and Harlan would typically use the bullhorn to let everybody know that the rocket would be launching in five minutes. At every event, every student and parents came outside to watch the launch and each time students and parents were amazed to see a rocket with a powerful engine fly through the air. Known as the highlight of every one of CVHS OC Science’s showcases, this demonstration certainly put many smiles on faces as kids stared in astonishment.